August 22, 2009

Kerstin Ribers

I had planned 11 weeks of exchange studies at Kawashima Textile School by HV school in Sweden where I graduated in 2007. From the very beginning I felt very welcome!

I started to spend a few weeks for the Foundation Kasuri Course when I made a sample, including kasuri tying, dyeing and setting up. In the beginning I felt that my lack of Japanese ability was a barrier, and compared to the weaving procedure in Sweden, everything was upside-down and made me confused. After a while, the language problem became less and less. The teachers and the students are really nice and caring about me all the time. We have found some (sometimes funny!) ways to communicate which work very well!

Although Japan and Sweden are very far from each other, it's interesting to see how similar our schools and courses are. The Japanese students are working independently and are focused. It is extraordinarily quiet during school hours! It is easy to concentrate.

I am staying in the school's dormitory. Its strict rules are forgotten by the warm atmosphere the students create, and they introduce me different Japanese sweets almost every evening! And for a Swede like me, Kyoto's outskirts are like a magical zoo with monkeys, shining fireflies, crabs walking in the streets and frogs singing at night...

I have started to design and to weave my own kasuri fabrics, but I have also participated in some of the classes of the regular course. We have also visited festivals in Kyoto and I have had many opportunities to visit exhibitions and galleries. The experienced teachers, and also the students, share with others their experiences and knowledge. Right now I am full of inspiration!

I wished to get a glimpse of Japanese culture, textile techniques and textile art expression, but have gotten more!